SolarWorld is to present the 2010 SolarWorld Einstein Award to Nobel Peace Prize laureate and micro-finance pioneer Muhammad Yunus in September. The award is being presented in recognition of Yunus’ micro-loans for the poor, created through Grameen Bank, of which he is founder, which have made possible the installation of more than 400,000 small solar power systems, securing energy supplies for people in rural regions of Bangladesh who live far from the national utility grid.
“Professor Yunus stands for radically new thinking in economics and banking. He has recognized the potential of the poorest of this world who manage to make a decent living on the basis of a small starting credit, a lot of creativity and the sun as the source of energy. This is more than exemplary,” explains Dr. Ing. h. c. Frank Asbeck, chairman and CEO of SolarWorld.
With help from micro-loans, program recipients can obtain small off-grid solar power plants. This clean energy enables regional residents to work after dark, learn more in school and operate electric machines, radios and mobile phones. At the same time, it reduces climate and health hazards emanating from kerosene lamps.
Thousands of women have been trained in the installation and maintenance of these solar plants, providing them with reliable income. Due to savings on kerosene costs, solar plant owners can pay back the loans within two to three years. Yunus’ nonprofit company Grameen Shakti (GS) is pursuing the objective of installing one million solar power systems by 2015.
The SolarWorld Einstein Award 2010 will be presented in a ceremony at the 25th European Photovoltaic Conference in Valencia, Spain, on Sept. 6, 2010.